• Devan

Cargo Vans – Which Awesome Option To Choose?

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

Cargo Vans.  Strange that I never noticed their existence much before, but I will never look at them the same again.

Have you ever picked up a book, started reading it, then thought “Holy crap!  These are my feelings!  I could have written this word for word!”  That happened to me the evening of February 10th as I settled into bed and began reading my newly purchased copy of Jess Ward’s book entitled “The Intrepid Woman’s Guide to Van Dwelling”.  

As I curled up in my blankets with my cats beside me, in the darkness of my tiny little studio apartment, tablet in hand, I began to read.  Immediately I knew I found a kindred spirit.  In the first 2 pages of chapter one, I read these two thoughts from the author Jess Ward:  

“Dutifully, I geared up to be disappointed by another leap into professional employment that crash landed appalling short of my expectations.  The Bureaucracy, the ladder climbing, and the tedium of working forty hours a week just didn’t jibe with how I envisioned my ideal life.”  

“I sucked at being normal.”

sniff  She gets me.  She really gets me.

The more I read, the more I liked Jess.  We thought alike in many ways and had similar experiences leading up to our ‘enlightenment’ about what we wanted in life.  She even mentions that she “randomly stumbled upon” Bob Wells book and shares that it was the catalyst for her deciding to live in a van.  

She explained, “The mental light bulb illuminated when I finished the final page of that book.  The noise in my head quieted and the goal was in sight: I was going to live in a van.  DONE.”

For anyone new to my story, this very same book by Bob Wells shook up everything I ‘knew’ I wanted for my nomadic lifestyle.  I purchased it in Mid November 2015, and while still reading, began to realize I may not want a small Class C after all.  

Isn’t it cool to think Bob’s book provided Jess with her epiphany?  Particularly since it redirected my own thinking, opening my mind to the idea, thus allowing Jess’s book to completely clarify my path.  Thanks, Bob and Jess!

As I was coming to the end of Jess’s book, my friend David, completely out of the blue, sent me a copy of The Van Dwellers Dilemma, a free eBook available from Christine at Defying Normal.  The timing was uncanny.  

While Jess had a great chapter in her book ‘Selecting the Right Wheels” that helped me determine I wanted a cargo van, I still didn’t know which cargo van.  Christine’s book resolved that quandary.

Christine lays out detail in her eBook that you truly can’t find anywhere else, and puts it all in one very readable place.  It still shocks me that she gives it away for free!   I particularly love that she shares less common information about things like turn radius and wheelbase, which can impact things like stealth and drivability.  

There are detailed pros and cons for practically any cargo or conversion van you can think of and she also has chapters on minivans, trucks, cars, and buses.  If you plan to live or travel in something other than a typical pre-built RV, you need to read this book.


The Nomadicats are a very important consideration as I plan my van build. Keeping these lovable freeloaders safe and healthy is a primary concern.

I am happy to report that I am now armed with the information I need to help pick which cargo van will work best for me.  I can’t say exactly which one I want because it will greatly depend on price and availability, once I am out there shopping.  

It will likely be a Chevy Express.  I would prefer a high top, but I can live without it.  Price and availability as I search will be paramount in my decision making.

I also know what I don’t want, based on what I have read and how I plan to live and travel, so that will help narrow the search process.   Then there are vans like the Sprinter or the ProMaster, that I would very much like, but they aren’t financially realistic.

I am not planning an elaborate build so I expect things to be fairly simple.  I know I will need assistance with the construction, but don’t know who will be providing that help yet.  I won’t have an enormous amount of money to pay for labor, but I also don’t want a sloppy build.  

I have a few friends I might convince to help, but none near me. I may have to throw a mattress in the back and travel to them before I begin my adventures.  I’m not terribly stressed about it.  Things have a way of working themselves out.

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#vanlife #vanliving #mobileliving #livingsimply #vanlife #cargovan #vanbuild #vandwelling #FordESeries #chevyexpress #nomadicats

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